News & Our Thinking

Weekly Investor

Weekly Investor – March 10, 2014

11 March 2014

Growth in Equity Markets Continues

Market Summary: 

U.S. equity markets ended the week in positive territory and the S&P 500® Index posted its highest one day performance of 2014, closing up 1.53% on Tuesday.  Political tension stemming from the concern of possible Russian intervention in Ukraine caused worry for investors early in the week.  However, the tension subsided when Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops near the Ukraine border back to their bases on Tuesday, stating there was no immediate need to invade Ukraine.  Additionally, U.S. economic data was positive.  ISM Manufacturing data was better than expected as was employment data.  The Labor Department announced that employers added 175k jobs in February, ahead of expectations.  Looking ahead, investors hope for continued growth in equity markets.

The S&P 500® was up 1.0% for the week.  The top-performing sectors in the S&P 500® Index included Financials (3.0%) and Industrials (1.8%), while bottom-performing sectors included Health Care (0.1%) and Utilities (-1.3%). In the fixed-income market, the 10-year Treasury yield was up during the week, ending at 2.8%.

We continue to seek those companies possessing identifiable catalysts, and focusing on those stocks with favorable odds.

Favorable Odds

GILDGilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD), a biopharmaceutical company, engages in the discovery, development, and commercialization of therapeutics for the treatment of life-threatening infectious diseases.  Notably, GILD is a leader in drug development for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in adults.

GILD continues to dominate the HIV market and has further strengthened its position with the launch of next generation combination pills for treatment.  This strong core business provides investors a solid base for growth.  GILD’s HIV franchise, coupled with the potential for blockbuster treatments in Hepatitis C and oncology within the company’s pipeline, provides additional growth avenues for years to come.  With a strong core business, one of the highest potential pipelines in the biotech industry, and an attractive valuation, we feel GILD offers favorable odds for investors.

Top 10 Equity Holdings

Google, Inc. 6.2%
CBS Corp. 4.9%
SunTrust Banks, Inc. 3.9%
Danaher Corp. 3.8%
Post Holdings, Inc. 3.6%
Lincoln National 3.6%
Quanta Services, Inc. 3.5%
Amgen Inc. 3.5%
Qualcomm Inc. 3.4%
Forest Labratories 3.3%

U.S. Equity Indices

Index 03/07/14 Week % Chg YTD % Chg
DJIA 16,452.7 0.8% -1.5%
NASDAQ 4,336.2 0.7% 3.1%
S&P 500 1,878.0 1.0% 0.6%
Russell 1000 G 885.5 0.6% 1.9%

U.S. Credit Rates

Index 03/07/14 02/28/14 12/31/13
3 Month T-Bill 0.1% 0.1% 0.1%
5 Year T-Note 1.6% 1.5% 1.8%
10 Year T-Note 2.8% 2.7% 3.0%
30 Year T-Bond 3.7% 3.6% 4.0%
Prime Rate 3.3% 3.3% 3.3%

This newsletter presents selected recommendations from portfolio managers of Argent Capital Management LLC, a registered investment advisor. Opinions reflect the portfolio manager’s judgment on the date above and are subject to change. A list of stocks recommended by Argent is available upon request. You should not assume that these recommendations are or will be profitable. In the course of it’s business, Argent’s client accounts may be buying and selling these stocks.